19 Mar

Keep your Credit Score Healthy

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: John Panagakos

I can not stress enough as to how important it is to have a healthy credit score.  When clients walk through my door the first thing I ask them is how’s your credit score?

If you haven’t seen your credit score, you’re not alone.  Many clients don’t know their credit score.

During our initial consultation, we go over your complete credit report with you and as an added bonus, I’ll even teach you how to read it.

So, how can you make sure you have a great credit score?

Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. You need to have credit. It may be surprising – but your credit score goes up as more credit is available to you. We recommend at least two facilities: a credit card and a line of credit (or 2 credit cards)
  2. You also have to pay your bills when they are due. That goes for your internet, cell phone and even parking tickets.
  3.  It also helps to start as soon as possible. The longer you have a clean record of paying your credit card, loans or other credit facilities, the better your credit becomes.
  4.  Finally, make sure to carry a low balance. One of the least known ways to hurt your credit is to have high utilization.

By having a good/healthy credit score you open doors to various products and ultimately more favourable interest rates.

Contact me today if you’re thinking of buying or refinancing or are concerned about your current financial situation and together we can work to getting you on the right path to financial freedom.


5 Mar


Mortgage Tips

Posted by: John Panagakos

While most people know the main things they need to buy a home, such as stable employment and enough money for a down payment, here are 4 signs you’re ready for home ownership.

As a mortgage broker, it is my job to ensure that each one of my clients is getting the best service I can provide.  Part of this means educating as much as possible when it comes to buying a home.

You should have more funds available than the minimum of a down payment

This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that people may not realize until they actually think about it.  It’s very difficult to afford a home if you only have enough money for a down payment and then find yourself scrambling for day-to-day living after that.

If you have enough money saved up (more than the minimum needed for a down payment), you may be ready to start house-hunting.

Your credit score is good

This might seem obvious at first glance, however, if you don’t have a good credit score, chances increase that you could be declined altogether or stuck with a higher interest rate and thus end up paying higher mortgage payments.  If you have a less-than-optimal credit score, working with a mortgage professional can help you get on the the right track in the shortest time possible.  Sometimes a few subtle changes can bump  a credit score from “meh” to “yahoo” in a few short months.

Breaking the bank isn’t in your future plans

Do you plan on buying two new vehicles in the next two years?  Are you thinking of starting a family?  Are you considering going back to school?

Although you may think you can afford to purchase a home right now, it’s extremely important to think about one, two, and five years down the road.  If you know that you aren’t planning on incurring big expenses that you need to factor into your budget anythime soon, then that’s something that may help you decide to buy a home.

You are disciplined

It’s easy to say, “it’s a home, I’m going to have it for a long time so I may as well go all-in!”.  While that would be nice, that’s rearely the case!  

You must have a limit that you’re willing to spend.  Sitting down with a mortgage broker or real estate agent and analyzing your finances is crucial.  It’s important that you know costs associated with buying a home and what the maximum amount is that you can afford without experiencing financial sturggels.  IMPORTANT: This is not the amount that you are told is your max!

This is the amount that you calculate as your max based on your current monthly budget and savings plan.  It’s quite frequent where I have clients tell me that their max budget, is say, $1200 and then when I run the numbers they could actually be approved for much more.  Low and behold suddenly these guys are looking at homes that are hundreds of dollars a month higher than their initial perceived budget.  It is up to  you (with my help or pleading, when necessary) to reel things back in and make sure that your aren’t getting into something that affects the long-term livelihood of a well thought out budget or savings plan.

***This article was written by Shaun Serafini part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Excellence in Lethbridge, AB***


These are just four signs that you may be ready to purchase a home.  If you’re seriously considering buying or selling give me a call today.  As your mortgage broker I’m am here to help out and get you on the right path to a brighter financial future. I have access to many lenders and based on your individual financial situation, I can get you into the proper mortgage to achieve all your financial goals in life.